Coronavirus lockdown | Airlines start selling domestic flight tickets

They expect no blanket extension of lockdown across the country after May 4

Updated - April 16, 2020 12:08 am IST

Published - April 15, 2020 11:12 pm IST - Mumbai

Representational image

Representational image

In anticipation of no blanket extension of a lockdown across the country after May 4, airlines have started domestic flight ticket sales again.

Also read | ‘Full refund only if ticket booked on airline website, app’

A look at airline websites and online ticketing portals on Wednesday revealed that — despite the new social distancing norms, including an empty middle seat, an earlier than usual closure of check-in counters and extended ground halts periods for sanitisation — air fares were low to attract passengers. This is quite contrary to what most reports had suggested.

Bookings from May 4 were on Wednesday available at return fare ranging from ₹4,829 to ₹7,438 on the Delhi-Mumbai sector, the busiest in the country. Fares on this sector, usually at a premium because of summer vacation, were available starting at ₹2,500 (one way) by IndiGo through is website and app.

The lowest return fare on this sector was being offered by Air India at ₹4,829 while the highest return fare was on SpiceJet for ₹7,438. Air Asia has tickets in the range of ₹4,998 and ₹5119 depending on flight timing. GoAir and Vistara had tickets going for ₹6,150 and ₹7,438 respectively.

IndiGo is selling tickets for 18 flights between Delhi and Mumbai, 16 to Bengaluru from Delhi and 11 to Chennai from the national capital. While Vistara is selling seats on 15 flights between Mumbai and Delhi (each way), SpiceJet has seats on 7 flights available.

Air India, GoAir and Air Asia are the remaining airlines whose bookings are also open.

Between Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, IndiGo has opened bookings on two flights with return fares going up to ₹13,767.

Among 16 flights of IndiGo available on May 4 between Bengaluru and Delhi, 6E-2032 has ₹13,880 as the lowest one-way fare available.

For the week starting May 4, fares range between ₹6,684 and ₹9,448 on Delhi-Bengaluru sector, and from ₹2,732 to ₹8,388 on the Chennai-Delhi route. Fares were available between ₹4,510 and ₹9,425 across six airlines on the Kolkata and Delhi flights.

Travel portal Cleartrip showed that a total of 65 flights will be available between Delhi-Mumbai, 25 between Delhi-Chennai and 40 from Delhi to Bengaluru on May 4. The fare brackets are similar for the next few weeks.

Travel agents were, however, quick to add a word of caution for anyone jumping to book tickets. “The lockdown has not been lifted yet. Life after May 3 will not be the same as before for air travel. There cannot be crowding inside terminals, check-in, boarding gates and aircraft among other things,” Reji Philip, a south Mumbai-based corporate travel booking agent, said

Mr. Philip added that those booking tickets now should also be prepared for flights to be cancelled due to amended government rules or merging of flights due to poor loads. And remember there won’t be refunds for now, only credit shells for future travel.

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